George E. Milkowski: Candidate Profile
Metro. Water Reclamation District (Green)
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Website: greens4MWRD.org (Not yet fully developed)
Family: Wife - Rhonda Adult children - Matt, Marcy
Occupation: Retired Chicagpo Public Schools High School Teacher
Education: Masters plus
Civic involvement: Elected as a Director to the North Boundary Home Owners League; NBHOL liaison with the Chicago Police Department; Regular blood donor through LifeSource (133 donations to date: still active member in the Chicago Teachers Union
Elected offices held: None
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what? What specific professional qualifications do you possess that would make you excel in this office?
Too often the MWRD spends taxpayer money with little or no oversight. For example, on August 7, 2014, the MWRD agreed to increase its payment to the law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson from an original amount of $9,500 to $$215,000; an increase of 2,163%!! (see file#14-0893). To me, this is only one example of taxpayer money spent in a cavalier manner. There are numerous other examples I know of.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
Does not apply
How do you view the role the district has played in controlling flooding in Cook County and what, if any, actions need to be taken to improve things?
Overall, not bad but it needs to do more. The Deep Tunnel project will help a lot when the reservoirs are completed. Also, the rain barrel program, which is part of a consent deal with the U.S. government, will help, but the District needs to do more to acquire and use open lands for rainwater storage. Both of these need to be expanded.
Does the board have the right number of commissioners to adequately represent all parts of the district?
The number of commissioners doesn't really apply in this case as they are elected "at-large". By chance all current commissioners are Chicago residents. I think taxpayers would be better served if the law was amended that would require the percentage of commissioners from Chicago would be equal to its percentage of its population in the District's boundaries.
How do you rate the MWRD on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important
I would rate the District as fair to poor on transparency. Last year a "blue ribbon" committee composed of MWRD lawyers and representatives of various businesses got a reduction in rates for those businesses. They said they had been overcharged and the MWRD agreed. The change in charges resulted in a $10-15 million reduction in revenues that other taxpayers (like you and me) will have to make up. The changes may have been justified but in no case were representatives of ordinary citizens, consumer groups, and so on on that committee. (File # UC13-003).
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I believe that the MWRD, and every office of government, must have a completely independent investigative watchdog with subpeona powers and power to bring charges against any MWRD commissioner or employee who may be using his/her position for personal gain or to reward "friends".
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Don't be afraid of hard work and always tell the truth.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
History. It is amazing at how far humankind has advanced, but also how much further we need to go to obtain a truly just society.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Always be honest. that is the only way to be true to yourself, your family, and friends.